2 MIN READ | Clinical Psychology

How to Recognise a Substance Use Disorder?

Elena Deeley

Cite This
Elena Deeley, (2021, March 9). How to Recognise a Substance Use Disorder?. Psychreg on Clinical Psychology. https://www.psychreg.org/how-recognise-substance-abuse-disorder/
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 187 views

No matter if it’s about you or someone you love, the first step towards a long-lasting recovery from substance use disorder is to recognise it. In this article, our experts share their views on how you can identify the warning indications of substance use disorders and find the right help.

Drugs and alcohol use 

When you use prescription drugs, illicit drugs, over-the-counter medications, or alcohol to the extent that it affects your everyday life, substance use disorders occur. It can take a major toll on all the aspects of your life including your personal relationships, work-life, academics, physical health, mental health, and much more.

The most common risk factors of these disorders are troubling mental health (depression, anxiety, stress, trauma, etc) and the use of drugs or alcohol to relax or socialize. 

Warning signs to look for

Excessive use of drugs or alcohol can occur over a short period or gradually. Here is the list of some common warning signs of substance use disorders:

  • Financial problems due to overspending on drugs on alcohol.
  • Uncontrolled falls and injuries.
  • Problems in personal relationships due to verbal abuse, physical abuse, or domestic violence.
  • Spending most of the time arranging drugs, finding a place to use them, and getting high.
  • Troubled appetite, weight gain, or weight loss.
  • Problems at work due to poor performance, frequent absenteeism, or other reasons.
  • Law troubles such as possession of drugs, child neglect, public intoxication, driving under influence of a substance, domestic violence, sexual assault, assault, child abuse, underage drinking, etc.
  • Blackouts, problems with memory, mood swings, irritability, difficulty to focus, agitation, stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • The constant denial of drugs or alcohol use.

A person can exhibit any of these signs because of other reasons. However, if there is a combination of multiple signs, it could be a big problem. It is highly important to address such issues as soon as possible and seek a comprehensive California addiction treatment. Otherwise, it may lead to serious health issues, loss of employment, conflicts in the family, conflicts in love life, and more.

How to avoid substance use disorder?

The easiest and the most important step to avoid drug and alcohol use disorder is to recognize it and seek immediate medical help. Be proactive and observant to take the necessary steps right at the beginning of the issue and do not wait until it leads to more serious problems. Whether it’s you or your loved one who is struggling with substance use disorder, follow these steps to avoid problems and seek medical assistance.

  • Offer healthy options to deal with stress.
  • Be communicative with your loved ones. Share your problems.
  • Consult with a mental health expert about your issues.
  • Have a word with your family physician to promote healing through a healthy diet, exercise, meditation, therapies, and more.

Final words

Patients with drug or alcohol use disorders need professional assistance and long-term support. Note that believing it exists is the first stage and addressing it on time can save you from a lot of frustration. Therefore, be proactive to reach out to the right help. Health care facilities like rehabs are the best places to treat such illnesses. Medical experts out there can tailor a unique treatment plan that suits your medical needs.


Elena Deeley did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.


Disclaimer: Psychreg is mainly for information purposes only. Materials on this website are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on this website. Read our full disclaimer here

Copy link